International Women's Day - Raising Smart Girls

Raising Smart Girls Cofounder Abi Olukeye 

Raising Smart Girls Cofounder Abi Olukeye 

I met Abi a few weeks ago at Alice's Circular Summit - we were standing in line near each other and started chatting. She shared about her organization - Raising Smart Girls - and handed me her card. I read the back of it and got tears in my eyes. It reads:

"Kids are born in different homes and situations every day but your daughter, she was born to you. You, mom, are your child's unfair advantage. You are doing a great job. We are just here for support! "

Since becoming a parent, it has become glaringly obvious to me that no child gets to choose their parents (I mean, I would have figured it out at some point, but it really hit me a few weeks after my first son was born). 

Some children end up in a home with two parents with multiple degrees; and some end up in a home with one parent who hasn't finished high school. Both families can be SO committed to their children's health and success, but are starting from significantly different places. 

Abi and her cofounder Uto seek to give all parents the resources they need to raise *head and heart* smart girls. 

I wanted to get to know Abi and Raising Smart Girls more, so I figured I'd use wanting to write a post celebrating International Women's Day as my motivation. Please read on to learn how Raising Smart Girls is helping parents #PressforProgress

Elizabeth Knox: please tell me what prompted you to start Raising Smart Girls!
Abi Olukeye: First and foremost, Uto and I each have two daughters so Raising Smart Girls was born out of a desire to raise our own head and heart smart daughters. Early in my parenting journey, I read a lot about anything related to child development and found that there were so many nuggets of wisdom out there in the world hidden in books and journals that busy moms wouldn’t have time to search for and/or read. As I shared my findings with friends, I started being known as the research queen and the go-to person for education info. The Raising Smart Girls newsletter became a way to share what I was learning more regularly and support other parents like myself. Secondly, both Uto and I have STEM undergraduate degrees and have gone on to work build great STEM Careers. We aim to help increase the pipeline of females that consider and pursue STEM Careers by focusing on influences outside of the classroom and schools. This platform allow us to effectively equip moms with all the tools and resources they needs to instigate, incite and sustain STEM interest and confidence in their aged 3 - 12yrs daughters. 

Elizabeth: your website says you're putting together a list of STEM at home activities for parents, can you share your favorite one with us? 
Abi: There are so many great resources and we share 3 new ones every week. My girls have enjoyed the Kiwi Crate subscriptions boxes in the past. Also, I am intrigued by Little Bits and looking forward to playing with them with my girls in the next few weeks. 

Elizabeth: what needs do you try to meet for parents? And for girls?
Abi: Specifically, we aim to partner with parents by keeping them informed on everything parenting and education. Many of our readers tell us our content helps them feel empowered. Today we do this through the weekly newsletter, however we hope to create a personalized offering that allow us provide just in time recommendations that fit easily and effectively into their daily lives and considers their daughters natural interests. Ultimately, we hope to support girls directly by developing girl inspired math learning resources. 

Elizabeth: what kind of help are you looking for from parents and community members? 
Abi: I would love to hear more about what topics are most helpful; where their biggest parenting concerns/challenges are and what they would like to learn more about. We are here to serve so I want to have as many one on one or group conversations with moms of girls aged 3 - 12 as possible.

Elizabeth: What did you do to celebrate International Women's Day? and what does #Pressforprogress mean within the context of Raising Smart Girls? 
Abi: International women’s day is always a meaningful celebration every year for me personally. I am keenly aware of the advancements we have made towards gender equality and the work that lies ahead.  #PressForProgress is at the heart of the work we do with Raising Smart Girls; Women hold 47% of jobs in the workforce but only 25% of STEM jobs. Our goal is to level the playing field for girls everywhere by knocking down the obstacles that prevent them from exploring STEM Careers starting with fostering rich support within their homes. 

Elizabeth again: Thanks so much Abi! I love learning about Raising Smart Girls, and excited to share some of these resources with my daughters! (and my sons, of course!)